Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

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Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
U.N. Ambassador, Crackistan
Jan 17, 2014 - 02:56pm PT
What is beyond conceptualization? (One can't conceptualize his or her way through that problem.)

That right there is a good example of woo woo.

DMT
moosedrool

climber
Stair climber, lost, far away from Poland
Jan 17, 2014 - 03:24pm PT
Moose. Who is experiencing all of this?

I was sure it was I, but I'm curious what Largo, disguised as a computer, has to say ;)
PSP also PP

Trad climber
Berkeley
Jan 17, 2014 - 03:28pm PT
What is beyond conceptualization? (One can't conceptualize his or her way through that problem.)

That right there is a good example of woo woo.

DMT

Are you saying if you can't grasp it it is woo woo?

Beyond conceptualization is when you just do things 100%, it is before thinking mind. You probably have this mind when you fully commit to your highest level of climbing ability. When you climb it you are not thinking. When you do this you also leave behind other concepts such as I my me and fear.

99% doesn't work because you try to do it with all the concepts going; probably a good definition of the "epic". so if you ae a climber you do know beyond conceptualization.

So you if you think it is woo woo (something you can't grasp) i don't think you have looked at it very closely. IMO
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Jan 17, 2014 - 03:35pm PT
What is beyond conceptualization? (One can't conceptualize his or her way through that problem.)

That right there is a good example of woo woo.
-


What you're say there, and what Fort is getting twisted about (READ the frikkkking post) is the belief that conceptualization is a place or mode beyond which we humans cannot go.

Instead of saying directly and honestly: I have no experience that I can recognize that is beyond coneptualization, beyhod which words or symbols cannot reach, so to me, such a notion sounds like what I call "woo woo."

Put differently, what I have not experienced or don't understand or can't imagin/symbolize/measure is perforce bullshit and a "waste of time" = woo woo.

You're betting against yourselves on this one.

JL
moosedrool

climber
Stair climber, lost, far away from Poland
Jan 17, 2014 - 04:08pm PT
There was an article in Scientific American, "How Unconscious Thought and Perception Affect Our Every Waking Moment".

There is no mystery here. We can operate in either conscious or unconscious mode. Our unconscious makes many decisions for us, but it is still in our brain and based on our previous experiences.

IMHO, mystics don't want to accept reality because they think it would take away the mystery from life. The opposite is true. The more I know about the physical world, the more I am amazed. There was time in my life when I stopped reading fiction altogether because reading about the scientific discoveries was much more interesting.

Seriously, this time :)

Andrzej
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
U.N. Ambassador, Crackistan
Jan 17, 2014 - 04:20pm PT
No.... No. No. NO!

Psppp, largo, mikel... I am not saying what you claim. I'm saying it is impossible to communicate without concepts. So when mikel removed his 'notion' of god from conceptualization in the course of a discussion he entered the realm of woo woo.

Psppp I simply do not accept that being 100% in the moment, as opposed to 99% removes conceptualization from the playground of the brain. That's woo woo too.

Largo you cannot leave your conceptualization behind. Don't believe me? Try it and report back here.

DMT
Malemute

Ice climber
great white north
Jan 17, 2014 - 04:42pm PT
New Religion

For the last few weeks a group of us have been going 'round and 'round the email tree on the subject of alpinism, mixed climbing, ethics, etc. I finally wrote this after thinking about it a bunch and probably drinking way too much Red Bull. The idea is that different climbing styles are religions, and attempting to convince someone else of the superiority of your religion isn't very productive for the other party or you. The spark for the debate came from an article Raphael Slawinski wrote for the Canadian Alpine Journal on how mixed climbing is affecting alpine climbing. A leading alpine climber (Steve House) disagreed, everybody wrote a lot, yada yada, "Mountain Divinity was response to it all, including my own writing...
1. The more days you spend outside worshipping the holier you are. Doesn't matter what faith or how you worship.

2. The time and love you put into your outdoor experience defines your true closeness to god.

3. The less words you spend on slandering other climbers or styles of mountain experience, even if they deserve it, the holier you are (this is a hard one to live up to).

4. The more you share the joy of the mountains with people at any level, be it clinics, slideshows, articles or in the bar, the holier you are.

5. The more total positive impact you have on the mountains, the holier you are. None of us truly belongs in the alpine environment (we're not goats). Leaving pins on rap is as wrong as leaving bolts. Ditching gear is as bad as ditching garbage. The only way to atone for these sins is to work toward mountain preservation; raise $, pick up garbage on the trail, work for local and international preservation, etc. Realize that we are all sinners, but try to make a positive difference in the long run. This is very hard; I like four-wheeling, jeting to new mountain ranges, rotor crack, etc. All faiths are hypocritical; recognize this and do better with your own faith rather than attacking the hypocrisy we all see in other faiths.

6. Staying alive brings you closer to god; dying does not.

7. Converting disciples through positive energy is allowed; using your position as a prophet to slander other faiths is a sin.

8. Climbing is only one facet of a mountain faith; a hike on a perfect day counts the same (perhaps more because you can actually stop and think) than a hard new route.

9. Arrogance with the supremacy of your sub-faith is one sure way to piss God off.

10. Public posing is allowed (like Jesus' disciples didn't work the propaganda machine), but monotheistic posing at the expense of other faiths is shallow. False posing ("I'm more bad-ass than X because he used two pins and I only used one") is not posing but false proselytizing.

Services to be held every day anywhere outside (failing that, bars will work).

While the above is meant only semi-seriously, it is a credo I'd like to live up to--the climbers I most admire are those who climbed lots, slandered little, and shared the mountains often before they died at a ripe old age. They had faith in what they did, and did it well.


Will Gadd
PSP also PP

Trad climber
Berkeley
Jan 17, 2014 - 04:47pm PT
There was an article in Scientific American, "How Unconscious Thought and Perception Affect Our Every Waking Moment".

There is no mystery here. We can operate in either conscious or unconscious mode. Our unconscious makes many decisions for us, but it is still in our brain and based on our previous experiences.

IMHO, mystics don't want to accept reality because they think it would take away the mystery from life. The opposite is true. The more I know about the physical world, the more I am amazed. There was time in my life when I stopped reading fiction altogether because reading about the scientific discoveries was much more interesting.

Seriously, this time :)

Andrzej


I think you are presenting a straw argument here. Are you saying that the unconscious is the same thing as a mind that is not attached to concepts? And this idea you throw out about Mystics (what are mystics?) not accepting reality is your own construct. If you read any of the post of T Packers words, the driving purpose of meditation practice is to truely experience the moment without the blinders of greed anger and ingnorance.

I absolutely love science also; so it is a straw argument that you can't deeply explore pre-conceptual mind and not fully appreciate or participate in science.

It seems to me that it is harder for scientists who depend on math and words (and probably never have meditated for an extended time) to prove their Hypothesis; to move outside of that conceptual arena and explore pre-concept experience.

I have said before the easiest way to do it is to go climbing; once your feet are off the ground on a hard problem you will likely stop thinking about most stuff and enter the pre-concept arena.

fongschway

Social climber
Plainfield, VT
Jan 17, 2014 - 04:54pm PT
I thought it was "woo-woo"?…..
MH2

climber
Jan 17, 2014 - 04:57pm PT
I think we ALL 'explore pre-concept experience.' We just don't do it conceptually. If you become aware of pre-concept experience, then it becomes conceptual, or conscious.
moosedrool

climber
Stair climber, lost, far away from Poland
Jan 17, 2014 - 05:02pm PT
PSP, you missed my post from a few days ago.

I did have faith.

I practice yoga and meditate almost every day.

I practice fasting on water only, for a 10 days at a time, at least once a year.

I am also a scientist.

I am also a materialist.

Don't tell me I don't know what I am talking about. We just came into different conclusions. Mine are more evidence based :)

Andrzej
jgill

Boulder climber
Colorado
Jan 17, 2014 - 05:05pm PT


Do concepts exist in the unconscious (or sub conscious)?

When a resolution to a problem in the outer world pops up from those mysterious regions did rational sub-thought occur?
moosedrool

climber
Stair climber, lost, far away from Poland
Jan 17, 2014 - 05:16pm PT
I think we ALL 'explore pre-concept experience.' We just don't do it conceptually. If you become aware of pre-concept experience, then it becomes conceptual, or conscious.

But, MH2, how can you explore this pre-concept experience if you lose it right away when you become aware of it?

Andrzej
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Jan 17, 2014 - 05:19pm PT
Psppp I simply do not accept that being 100% in the moment, as opposed to 99% removes conceptualization from the playground of the brain. That's woo woo too.
-


No cigar. You're still not getting or even trying to understand what he is saying. Instead you are defending your concept of how reality HAS TO BE.

And you have to be aware of the difference between awareness and conceptualizing. Start right there.

Conceptual relates to, or is based on mental concepts. Concepts, in this sense, are ideas and notions ABOUT some person, place or thing.

What happens when you shift your awareness from your head and place it down at your hara, an inch below your navel, and uncouple from the auto generating function that grinds out evaluations and couples symbols, concepts and words to the people, places and things in your immediate surroundings?

Viola. You're still present and aware, but you're suddenly outside of conceptualizing.

This is an observation drawn from experience, NOT from thinking about this, which will avail you nothing. Do Psppp's 30 second exersize.

You need to have the experience of having mental concepts with no evaluations or concepts attached to know there is a difference between them. Otherwise you'll just waste time arguing what you haven't yet experienced.

This gets back to the non discursive - slipper ground to be sure, and a "waste of time" for many. We can easily see why.

JL
moosedrool

climber
Stair climber, lost, far away from Poland
Jan 17, 2014 - 05:40pm PT
JGill

Do concepts exist in the unconscious (or sub conscious)?

When a resolution to a problem in the outer world pops up from those mysterious regions did rational sub-thought occur?

There is no separate brain region, or function for the subconscious thought. It is all the same electrochemical process. Our brain works regardless of our consciousness, but it needs initial input to produce results. Pondering what the brain would do if it were born without any connections to the outside world is pure speculation. We are all full of memories and sensations that our brains process 24/7. Sometimes we can find the source of the subconscious experience. I.E. if you experience an unexplained feeling toward a total stranger, it is because something in that person reminds you of somebody from your past. Simple conditioning.

Andrzej
MikeL

climber
SANTA CLARA, CA
Jan 17, 2014 - 06:34pm PT
Andrzej: You lost me. Again :)

My apologies. I'm claiming that reality cannot be parsed through scientific means (math, studies, statistics, etc.) and still exhibit total fidelity. The very attempt to apply common research methods (basically, "divide and conquer," analytically) entails the creation of artificial constructs (like lego blocks).

I understand there seems to be no other choice when dealing with reality (which I claim is everything in, er. . . one package). So folks parse up reality into little pieces for "objective manipulation," but that can no longer be unelaborated reality. Instead, it's what folks have parsed and constructed, all on their own. Folks here don't find reality; they create it. (I understand how that seem outrageously contradictory, but even contradiction is perfect and fine.)

EDIT: (Can't quite say this properly. I get a C- for this effort.)

DMT: I use imagry and concepts in my communication. I defy you to communicate back to me without them.

I've gone off-line with you on this, since we may be clogging up this thread with it. (I just sent you an email.)

BTW, any purely subjective (e.g., from the senses), emotional (the experience of chemicals coursing through one's veins), or instinctual response (the instantaneous slap from a woman) could be a neither non-objective nor objective communication. "Ha-ha" is not conceptual, nor is "*&%#(@" either.

(We should ask Largo for some classic Zen koans, which are great pointers.)

Cheers.
moosedrool

climber
Stair climber, lost, far away from Poland
Jan 17, 2014 - 07:17pm PT
MikeL, thank you, B- ;)

I agree that we can't perceive any object objectively using our senses. I stated that before. Thus, I agree that we don't know how the world really "looks" like. The science tells me that there is no such thing like "objective reality". Depending how you probe it, you get different result. Scientist more and more talk about relations between objects and less about objects. Sub particles are not even particles, but rather phantoms, for the lack of a better word. Even in our macro world, we won't agree on a shape or time if we are moving relative to each other.

You are offering an alternative method to experience this world. I am trying to use your method, but I can't. And you are telling me you can not describe it to me. Stalemate.

Andrzej
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
Jan 17, 2014 - 09:30pm PT
Interesting discussions to wake up to here in Japan.

As for Fortmental's comments.

First of all they illustrate well why I say science itself is a kind of religion. On the one hand the religious fundamentalists are telling me that I am not part of "the elect" because I'm not "saved", and then along comes Fortmental to tell me that because I don't have rigid proofs and limiting equations, I can't be taken seriously by science either. And neither side seems to question its own ethnocentrism in setting itself up as the elite that everyone should aspire to.

As for anthropology as an academic discipline, I would say that biological, linguistic and archaeological anthropology are sciences and while cultural anthropology at one time aspired to be also, we discovered severe limiting factors which precluded that. Some of these include:

1) There are not enough cultural anthropologists to go around that we can afford to have the kind of measuring and checking that science does. No doubt this is related to our lack of usefulness in providing technology and thus obtaining government funding. As a result, our goal has been to study every human group at least once. Still after 150 years, there are some who have not been described. Of course we are aware of the limitations of individual research and our training in methods and ethics reflects this. We do what we can with what we have.

2) At the foundation of modern cultural anthropology there was great hope that we would become a science and even develop equations to predict human behavior, all of which was influenced by the social Darwinism of the day. What we discovered instead, was the nearly infinite variety of human responses to similar problems. After 150 years, the only universal statement we can make is that all humans on earth fall into one of six subsistance categories.

In the process of studying other people, we also discovered that frequently, they had more admirable traits than our own citizens and societies, and were able to thrive under conditions we could not even have imagined, and thus refined our Darwinian inspired notions of "survival of the fittest" and our human subject ethics accordingly.

3) Later when we did ethnographic type studies of other primates, we discovered that several characteristics thought to be uniquely human are in fact shared by other primates, some of them quite distantly related to us. Tool making, language abilities and incest taboos are cross species it turns out. Any predictions based on human behavior would now have to take that into account also.

My own view of cultural anthropology is that it is both a social science and a humanities subject which will eventually be subsumed into history. This is not a popular stance among other cultural anthropologists however. It would solve the problem though, of us being accused of not being scientific enough. As far as I know, scientists have not yet started berating historians for not developing equations?

MH2

climber
Jan 17, 2014 - 10:00pm PT
Do concepts exist in the unconscious (or sub conscious)?

It seems likely to me that the elements, or parts, of concepts exist in the unconscious. The unconscious operates on the elements. If in the course of these operations an arrangement of subconscious elements appears which has similarity with or significance for a concept already in the conscious realm then that pattern makes its way into consciousness. I am only guessing, here, but will offer a plausible analogy in a moment.


When a resolution to a problem in the outer world pops up from those mysterious regions did rational sub-thought occur?

That seems a reasonable interpretation to me. We don't really know how thought operates but we surely perceive some of the results. To me, a "resolution of a problem in the outer world" would make a good definition of at least one kind of thought process. I'm not sure it would necessarily be rational, though.


But, MH2, how can you explore this pre-concept experience if you lose it right away when you become aware of it?

If you are willing to identify a part of your unconscious as 'you', then that part of you can explore pre-concept experience. When you become aware of the process you don't lose it. We just call it something else now: a concept.




I agree that we can't perceive any object objectively using our senses.


This needs elaboration. Our senses have direct connection with the world. Pressure on a touch receptor in your skin alters currents through the cell membrane of the receptor. In the retina photons bump rhodopsin and electric current modulates nerve impulses that get sent to the brain.

The way vision works has been well studied and might be a good analog to how sub-conscious thought works.

The retina has many many primary receptors where light gets converted to nerve impulses. Nerve connections within the retina start processing the information. When you record from individual neurons early in the game, you might find some that respond especially well to spots of light, others to edges, others only to moving spots or moving edges, and so on.

It isn't a simple hierarchy going from simple features to more complex ones, because there is a lot of inter-connection between the levels of the visual system, with nerve impulse traffic going back down the chain as well as up. However, to a rough approximation simple features are extracted from an image at early stages of the system and then are put back together into more complex representations at later stages. At some point in the process a bunch of light intensities, colors, edges, distances, and so forth get put together and compared with previous experience. To "you" this all just pops into awareness as a "chair," for example.
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
Jan 17, 2014 - 11:16pm PT
If a person has ever recorded and analyzed dreams they realize that the unconscious is the world of symbols rather than words and that the unconscious mind can be incredibly clever in trying to give us messages through these symbols. Often when the analytical mind finally figures out the significance of a given symbol, which can take months, it has to laugh in admiration at the cleverness and subtlty of the inference.

Of course some of the best known discoveries that appeared from the unconscious to the conscious mind in dreams occured directly as symbols - the circular nature of organic molecules as a snake with its tail in its mouth rolling downhill, the automatic sewing machine needle as a spear with an elongated hole in the end of it and so on. Many other dreams involve personal relationships.

It would be interesting to know what percentage of problem solving dreams involved problems which could be conceived of in a diagram form, what percentage involved seeing a personal relationship in a new way, and what if any, involved a problem mostly using the verbal discursive mind.

I have had dreams in which I gave a college lecture or spoke a foreign language fluently and then had the experience of doing that at a higher level afterward, but these were seldom compared to the purely symbolic dreams and may have been more of a lucid dream of the discursive mind than a dream involving the actual unconscious.
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